Alec Baldwin got kicked off an American Airlines flight.
He was not following FAA safety protocol by turning off all electronic devices as the plane was idling at a gate at Los Angeles Airport prior to take-off. Baldwin saw no harm in the fact he was playing a word game on his cell phone.
So he threw what Grandmother would probably have described as a hissy fit. It’s a term that best describes immature, bratty, and self-centered temper tantrums. At times it seems half the world has a hissy fit when they are asked to either observe common courtesy or regulations put in place for the safety of the general public when it comes to the use of cell phones.
Why should it be illegal to drive and yak on a cell phone at the same time? So what if you run a red light and flip over a vehicle carrying a family of four? Your need to converse is a higher priority than others’ safety.
What’s wrong with talking on your cell while a clerk is trying to ring up your purchase? Talking to a friend about a date you had last night is more important than concentrating on making a purchase and the time of the five people behind you in line.
Why should you have to watch where you’re going while walking down a crowded sidewalk in San Francisco while texting? The old man using the cane you brushed against shouldn’t stop you from instant communication.
The disconnection from courtesy and common sense has exploded since cell phones have become smart. They may instantly connect us with the cyber world but they also can instantly disconnect us from the real world around us.
There are those who say those that decry the lack of cell phone etiquette should get with it and accept the world for what it is.
And what world is that?
Is it one where it is more important to use your phone to shoot someone being humiliated so you can see how many hits you can get on You Tube as their ridicule goes viral?
Is it one where you instantly text or call people from wherever you are at any time to tell them instantly what you think of them instead of contemplating the impact of what you’re saying?
Or perhaps it is one where you never let go of the wireless umbilical cord whether you’re on a date, at a family dinner, hiking in the wilderness, in a classroom, or at the movies?
After all, the real world is in the palm of your hands and not those breathing human beings across the table from you. And whatever you see in nature, it’s on the Internet so who cares?
Grandmother - who was appalled about the trend of some to go out in public in hair curlers back in the 1960s - would probably not approve of the disconnection with civilized behavior that instant communication has created.
She was raised in the days of crank arm phones and took pleasure in later life with talking on the now archaic rotary dial phone with her children and relatives scattered throughout Northern California.
She’d probably approve of the cell phone as a device to bring people together.
What she wouldn’t embrace is the utter lack of decorum among a growing number of cell users.
There were expectations of behavior on old party lines just as there was in using a fixed line phone.
Smart phones may open up the world to us anywhere we go but they also making us dumb in terms of courteous and respective interaction with the people - strangers and otherwise - in the world around us.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.